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Cold Causes Sprinkler Pipe to Burst at Gable Museum

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cleanup workers spent hours trying to soak up the mess after a sprinkler pipe broke at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

The cold caused the pipe to burst at around 11:15 Tuesday morning.

You'd obviously expect to see Dan Gable at The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. Then you'll see Cael Sanderson and John Smith but usually John Swartzendruber isn't in the mix.

"We have been sucking for about an hour and a half," said Harris Cleaning Sales Manager John Swartzendruber.

He's one of many cleaning up the mess after water broke through the wall and filled the museum. Workers quickly moved all the displays and memorabilia to a dry place.

"I heard estimates there was probably 500 gallons per minute," said Museum Director Kyle Klingman.

Klingman estimates 7,500 gallons soaked the floors. He said he panicked when he saw the water, especially after the 2008 flood.

"Horrifying, that's what -- If I wouldn't have gone through what we did in 2008, I think my reaction might have been a little different," Klingman said.

"We are just extracting the heavy water and once we get the heavy out and the fans and the dehumidifiers, dry the drywall and the carpet, then we will have to come back and clean the carpet so there is not mold or mildew left over," Swartzendruber said.

As the long day of cleanup continued, crews went back and forth outside. Steam filled the halls when the cold air filtered inside. One after another, workers emptied out the tanks of water coming out of the carpets.

"There might be some structural damage, so that's going to be down the road once we get an assessment; we'll really get a chance to analyze what happened," Klingman said.

For now, however, the wresting museum staff already feels a sense of victory.

"It sounds promising," Klingman said.

The scene is returning to normal and none of the memorabilia was destroyed.

"It's a nice place for Waterloo and we want to keep it nice so people can keep come visiting," Swartzendruber said.

The museum director said he's especially thankful the pipe broke during the day. If it had happened overnight, it would have been a much different damage story. He expects the museum to stay closed for the remainder of the week as the drying process continues.

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